In brief: Boats capsize; hundreds missing

Kinshasa, Congo – Two boats capsized over the weekend in separate incidents on Congo’s vast rivers, leaving 70 people dead and 200 others feared dead, and both vessels were heavily loaded and operating with few safety measures, officials said Sunday.

Early on Saturday, a boat on a river in northwest Equateur Province hit a rock and capsized, provincial spokeswoman Ebale Engumba said Sunday. She said more than 70 people are believed dead among 100 estimated passengers.

In a separate incident in Kasai Occidental Province, 200 people were feared dead after a boat loaded with passengers and fuel drums caught fire and capsized in southern Congo, a survivor said Sunday.

Kabul, Afghanistan – The Taliban vowed Sunday to attack polling places in Sept. 18 parliamentary elections, warning Afghans not to participate in what it called a sham vote.

The threat issued Sunday comes just less than two weeks before the vote and follows the announcement of a final list of polling places to be opened around the country.

The Taliban position is consistent with those it has taken in the past. The insurgents seek to topple the government in Kabul and drive foreign troops from the country, and they have boycotted or sought to sabotage all aspects of the political process.

Election officials plan to open 5,897 voting sites, having discarded more than 900 locations because of security concerns.

Voters will choose 249 members of the lower house of parliament from among more than 2,500 candidates.

Police arrest 14 al-Qaida suspects

San’a, Yemen – Police arrested 14 suspected members of al-Qaida in a raid on one of the group’s alleged hideouts in south Yemen, the Interior Ministry said Sunday.

The ministry statement said the raid took place on Saturday night in Abyan province in the town of Lawder, 155 miles southeast of the capital where government troops have for weeks been battling what it describes as al-Qaida elements.

The statement added that further raids are planned in the area.

Elsewhere in south Yemen, gunmen from a separatist movement attacked an army post in Rabwa near the town of Habalein and killed four soldiers. Two of the attackers died as well.


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